A few respectable steps behind the world? Gay and lesbian rights in contemporary Singapore

Obendorf, Simon (2013) A few respectable steps behind the world? Gay and lesbian rights in contemporary Singapore. In: Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights in the Commonwealth: struggles for decriminalisation and change. School of Advanced Study Press, University of London, pp. 231-259. ISBN 9780957354883

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This chapter examines the colonial origins and present-day scope of those legal and social structures that seek to marginalise queer Singaporean life, including the recently reaffirmed criminalisation of male homosexual sex within the Singapore Penal Code. It contextualises the Singapore government’s resistance to leading change in this area and identifies the sources of current pressures for reform. The government’s hesitancy over the likelihood and timing of any potential liberalisation is revealed as all the more incongruous given the existence of a large, confident and visible gay and lesbian community within contemporary Singapore. The chapter explores how Singapore’s enthusiastic embrace of global economic integration and its attempts to reshape itself as an ideal destination and competitive hub for transnational flows of commerce, finance, tourism, expatriate labour, and knowledge-based creative industries has served to colour contemporary discourses of homosexual law reform and queer social visibility and acceptance. It also points to how state managers have regarded many of the outcomes of such globalizing processes as conflicting with approved narratives of postcolonial Singaporean nationalism and state sovereignty. The chapter concludes by offering some predictions about the likelihood and extent of future legal and political reform.

Keywords:Singapore, homosexuality, human rights, globalization, Commonwealth
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L712 Human and Social Geography of Asia
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:5968
Deposited On:13 Jul 2012 13:48

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